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Pakistan: Afghans arriving at an alarming rate

Briefing notes

Pakistan: Afghans arriving at an alarming rate

26 January 2001

The number of Afghans arriving in Pakistan has climbed at an alarming rate. UNHCR relocated 18,000 Afghans two weeks ago from a spontaneous campsite called Jalozai, which is close to the border. Jalozai now has 60-70,000 new people in it. In all, we are now dealing with some 150,000 Afghans, the great majority of whom are new arrivals since September. This is in addition to the longstanding Afghan refugee population in Pakistan of 1.2 million. The situation is evolving by the day and growing increasingly complex due to the appalling situation inside Afghanistan, where huge numbers of people are reported to be on the move - estimates are in the hundreds of thousands - because of fighting, drought, hunger and malnutrition. UNHCR has started a verification process at Jalozai to identify the newest and most vulnerable arrivals in need of assistance. They are then moved straight away to another campsite where they receive assistance. However, that camp is now almost full, and if the situation continues to deteriorate at such a rapid pace, we will face major problems identifying and securing new sites in Pakistan.